As 2020 draws to a close Phoenix Thoroughbreds will celebrate their most successful year in terms of the number of winners, including three G1 victories.
A total of 82 wins worldwide is the best total achieved in the Dubai-based group’s fledging history for a calendar year, 12 months that also saw the owners add an exciting young stallion to their breeding ranks and become G1 winning breeders. A tremendous feat by all involved considering the challenges the year has brought on everyone.
The latter of those achievements was delivered thanks to Farnan’s victory in the Golden Slipper. Raced in partnership with Aquis Farm the colt’s success in the most valuable juvenile race in the World was the realisation of an ambition the team behind Phoenix Thoroughbreds have held from the very beginning. While the owner’s White and Orange silks have become an increasingly familiar sight on the global racing stage, their breeding operation is the cornerstone of their business model. With a strong than ever band of broodmares in Australia, Europe, and The US and co-ownership in six leading stallions, their goal is to compete regularly with the industry’s leading breeders. Farnan’s decisive victory in ‘The Slipper’ capped a stunning two-year-old campaign for the son of Not A Single Doubt which also saw the colt add a couple of Group Twos to his impressive record. On top of Farnan’s winning record, futher high-profile success as breeders came at Group level when Letzbeglam raced to glory in the Blue Diamond Prelude.
Farnan’s victory in the Golden Slipper formed part of a genuinely remarkable March for the Phoenix/Aquis partnership. Four consecutive Saturdays saw the combination land four Group races with Farnan taking the Todman Stakes on his way to Slipper glory. Meanwhile, Prague and Holyfield both claimed Group Three wins in the month while also adding further honours at that level during the year.
No look back at the past year in Australia would be complete without mention of one of Phoenix Thoroughbreds best moments of 2020. A long-term sentimental favourite Loving Gaby returned to her beloved Moonee Valley to secure her second Group One success. The ultra-talented and consistent filly landed an exceptionally strong-looking William Reid Stakes beating the likes of outstanding Group One winner Bivouac, Everest third Gytrash and Coolmore Stakes victor Exceedance. The run would prove to be her penultimate career start with injury ruling out a shot the Everest and she retired to Phoenix’s broodmare band having also placed twice more at the top level in 2020. She is now in foal to Aquis stallion Pierata.
Volatile was no doubt the star of the show in the US. Owned in partnership with Three Chimneys Farm, the ultra-quick son of Violence provided three of those 82 wins, most notably landing the Grade One Vanderbilt when clocking the fastest final quarter in the race’s history. In addition, he only narrowly failed to lower the Churchill Downs track record when producing a demolition job in the Aristides Stakes. He retired to stand at Three Chimney’s where he has already been extremely popular with breeders.
Right at the start of the year, Lady Apple added yet more Graded stakes success to her page by taking the Houston Ladies Classic, a race she’ll be looking to win again in 2021. Later on, Little Menace and Confessing chipped in with a Stakes win each, as did Crazy Beautiful, who also placed in a Grade One before running at the Breeders Cup. She looks a filly with plenty of potential and will hold an entry in the Saudi Derby. Speaking of the future, Phoenix can look forward to seeing the development of Grade One placed pair Lady Lilly and Forest Caraway. At the same time, Ethical Judgement, a winner on his second start in 2020, is being touted for a big year ahead. An honourable mention must go to Lil Miss Moppet. The Peter Miller trained tough filly won four times on the bounce at Monmouth culminating with victory in the Pinot Grigio Stakes.
There was also plenty of success for Phoenix in Ireland and the UK, despite truncated seasons in both jurisdictions. All three of the group’s Irish trainers contributed to the grand total, with the Joseph O’Brien trained Lady Penelope leading the way with Listed success in the Polonia Stakes. Back To Brussels got back to winning ways for Fozzy Stack while Ado McGuinness produced wins for both Ablah and Pure Nature with the last mentioned improving from a rating of 63 to end the year on 91 after a hat-trick of victories. That rise in the ratings was mirrored by John Quinn’s Frankenstella in the UK while Dubai and Saudi bound Deja took the prestigious Old Newton Cup at Haydock for Peter Chapple-Hyam, among other British successes.
Thanks to Al Battar in Dubai and Gamble Rules in Argentina, Phoenix Thoroughbreds ended 2020 with recorded wins in all countries of operation.